Need a good laugh? Kick back and listen to Martin Henry, a Canadian Hang glider and paraglider who has been chasing free flight for almost 50 years tell some really fun stories. Get on board as we travel around the world, learn how to thermal, fly triangles, retrieve your significant other, fly competitions, compete in the Worlds, compete in the Worlds with your wife!, figure it out, crash, tumble, bomb out, send it, learn, and drink a nice cold beer with your friends after yet another wonderful day at cloudbase. This episode is pure joy and filled with tons of great advice and great learning thrown in regardless of where you are in the sport and what you hope to achieve. This show is an educational, entertaining BLAST- enjoy!
Check out this 1975 era hang gliding footage that Martin put together (this was off a VHS folks, so give the sound a break!).
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The issues in the beginning. “This product can, may, and will fail under any and all circumstances.”
“These gliders were VERY efficient at killing people”
How Mansfield, WA came into the picture
The wow factor of the Washington flats
Open distance on a rigid wing spells “divorce”
The golden age of hang gliding
What got folks back in the day and “survivor bias”
What the early pilots brought from sailplane knowledge
Flying in the Alps
Maintaining control- don’t give up
Is paragliding heading the same way as hang gliding?
“Flying? You should maybe think about taking up heroin!”
The early days of comps
Fear injuries and how to recover
How relaxed should we be? You have to feel the wing
How does our relationship with risk change as we age?
“I’m a mediocre pilot who tries to fly safely”. Don’t ignore your own skills, or the reality of the day.
Transferable skills between different aircraft
Don’t be a passenger
Stories of Larry Tudor (1:23:00)
Be wary of distraction- getting away with it until you don’t
Mentioned in the Show:
Malin Lobb, Bastienne Wentzel, Nik Hawks, Miguel Gutierrez, Larry Tudor, Stewart Midwinter, Charlie Baughman, Kari Castle, Willi Mueller, Chris Mueller, Alex Raymont, Wills Wing, Moyes, Aeros, Barry Bateman, Davis Straub, Brad Gunnuscio, Nicole McLearn, Joe Bostik, Manfred Ruhmer, Chrigel Maurer, Jeff Shapiro, Russ Ogden, Jeff Farrell, Randy Campadore, Chris Santacroce
Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. I have a truly awesome show for you today with Canadian hang-gliding paragliding pilot, and Martin Henry has been flying for almost 50 years and truly, he just took me out of my seat. I was laughing so hard few times, so you're going to really enjoy this before we get to it. And I've got a few little bits of housekeeping. The first is the last show we put out a couple of weeks ago with Malin lob was a huge hit on a ton of thanks and appreciation for that one.
It's filled with fantastic information in SAV and risk and Wayne control and at whatever level you're at. So please go back and listen to that one. We are going to do a follow up, ask me anything, show a bone, a show with him that will release while we were a record and release some time after the new year. So if you have questions for Mallon, please shoot him to me, prefer it via email, to go to the website, to go to the contact page, shoot me an email. If you don't have my email, I don't track things quite as well and Instagram and Facebook and stuff and social media.
It's much easier to get lost there, but send me your questions and we'll line up in another show with Mallin. And as we mentioned in that one, we put out a survey a few weeks back. It email@example.com for slash survey. If you haven't done it yet, it only takes a few minutes and we've got tons of responses to This and it was really surprised and some fantastic demographics and just a lot of information, a lot of great insight and feedback on how we can improve the show. So for those of you who have done it, thank you very much.
I'll be announcing in one of these future shows here. You've got the schwag will do a little drawing, hear maybe this next week for the books for bass DNS beginner books on paragliding, and some cloud-based Mayhem schwag as a reward. You all for doing that. So thanks so much for providing that feedback. And I thought I'd just before we get into the show today with Martin, that I'd go through some of the stats that came in a lot of this was really interesting to me age was about as the expected, you know, most, you know, 41% were between 35 and 44, 23% between 45 and 54 and almost 20% between 25 and 34.
And it was kind of surprising. So a little bit younger than I anticipated years flown 25% was the biggest number there between one in three years and 15.2% less than one year. And then a 19% between three and five years in 24%, more than 10 years. So a pretty wide spectrum there, but again were numbers at the beginning in that I anticipated in, which is awesome. And it just means that I'll keep interviewing the best pilots in the world, but we'll also tweak a lot of shows more towards the beginner.
And I think that'll be a lot of fun. The learning end progression in 73% are XC pilots. And the big one here that really threw me in a sense was the hours per year, almost 80%, less than an hour in less than a, a a hundred hours that tells us a lot about currency and that, you know, obviously it's pretty hard for most to chase it. I'm sure as hard as they would like to. So that was very telling and, and again, will help me orient more towards the, our, our listener base type hours, 56% thermal, 27% Ridge soaring and astonishing 85% of you who have not had an accident.
That's great. And I hope that the show helped a little bit with that and only 11.4% of out of one accident. So that's great type aircraft, 91% paraglider. So we definitely need to put out some more hang-gliding shows, but maybe that's representative of the population these days and Free flight. I'm not too sure, actually most peop 43% off the bat. Same actually we found out about your show via social media is slightly less than that through a friend or an acquaintance, maybe this isn't representative again, as the response is we got in the sample, but very few found out about it from their instructors, which I was surprised that instructors get on him and tell him to tell your students about sho and yeah, a bunch of other stuff that was, that was pretty interesting.
Most, almost all of you agree with our support. Get very few, have you had no opinion, but nobody didn't agree with it. So that was great. Some people thought it'd be okay if we went down in the sponsorship route, but I'll definitely stick with this model. It seems to be working and a whopping 60% of you that respond to the survey, also support the show, which is fantastic. So again, I don't think that's representative of our listener audience. If it was the case, I'd be a very wealthy man and that's, that's not going to happen, but that's what it's, it's fantastic.
And it's, I just thank you again, as I do all the time for making this possible and supporting us when you can a reminder of several people that had trouble getting access to the bonus shows, many of those we have to enter manually. If you, if you come to us and you support the show via a subscription service through the website, you're automatically added. But if you support through Patriot or like a one-time thing through Venmo or PayPal, or you just buy some Cloudbase Mayhem stock, or you just send me an email, those I'll have to enter manually again, you don't do to not have to support the show financially bad access, anybody who's who, who listens can have access.
Just let me know if you can't support us financially. I get it. I understand it. It's no problem. I'm going to ask for anything. Hopefully someday you can, but if you can't, no problem. Just let me know. But a lot of those I do have to enter manually and we just miss something. So I will get you slotted in, it will be a lifetime, a subscription. You don't have to worry about it. And also once you do that, once you have an account on the, you can subscribe to the bonus shows and that will just show up in your app, your listening app, like the regular show does, do you have any trouble with that and just to reach out, but there's instructions on the website under the subscription tab about how to do that.
It's pretty easy on both iPhone or Android, but if you have any trouble, just let us know how to improve. Just real briefly here, we did have a few complaints about sound on my guest side. That is we've been doing it via Skype, and it's just too complicated, expensive, and time consuming to send out microphones to all our guests because I'm interviewing people from all over the world. Although we are looking into doing this in North America and in Europe, so might get that up and go in here pretty shortly.
Nick Cox, it has been really helping me out with that most of the time. I think it sounds pretty good, but we will keep trying to make it better. And we don't. We have not utilized this in the next few, a couple shows that you've heard, but the last few shows that I have recorded have been recording a bunch of shows lately. We're using a whole new platform. That is way, way better than we've been doing it on Skype. So I think this complaint will shortly go away, more shows on the basics and learning more interviews on gear, more shows on weather, understanding more oriented towards middle tier and low, lower end pilots, some request for video interviews.
So I'm looking into that and that's, and that's about it. There's, there's a bunch of it. More and more on design, got some design shows is actually coming up. And where is there a few request for PPG? Interview's we haven't actually got one of those. I'm sorry, but we are tapping back into the sailplane community here shortly. And like I said, Oh, another quick reminder. And then we'll get to the show I promise is that we have our play at a lot of people who ask for a playlist with the, with the music here at the top of the show that is on Spotify.
There's a link to it on the website. And there's also one of our listeners came and they did one for Apple music, John booneyard. Thank you very much, sir. And you'll find that on our Facebook page, on the Cloudbase Mayhem Facebook page. So all of us on there, and you can get that. If your, if you listened to you that the Apple let's get into the show, Martin Henry has represented Canada and the Worlds. And so is his wife. They spend their summers out in Mansfield, in Washington, which is an awesome place out on the flats. When those of you who have flown Chalan on the spot, but their, their up in Canada right now, of course there, the chapter on that side of the border with the whole COVID thing going on, but they spend their summers chasing a pretty hard Mansfield, very special place in the world.
And he describes it very well. This one's like I said, laugh out loud. Funny, really enjoyed. This is a net. What can I say? He's awesome. So enjoy the show with Martin. Henry
Speaker 2 (8m 48s): Cheers.
Speaker 3 (9m 1s): Martin this is such a pleasure. I have been super excited to talk to you ever since you sent me an email ages and ages go in my much has happened in the world since then, but I was just cracking up this morning, looking at the article, the one that everybody talks to, you know, Larry tutor and all of you legends, the popular mechanics, June, 1972. And it's a This awesome Hang glider ish thing on the cover.
And it says air surfing in a new sport takes off and kites and gliders just before we started talking, you said you been at this for 50 years?
Speaker 4 (9m 39s): Well, it's getting pretty close. It started to round up to the 50 years pretty soon.
Speaker 3 (9m 44s): Well, you, you don't look old enough for that. And did you learn when you were two?
Speaker 4 (9m 47s): Just about it? I was probably, you know, and I'm like I say, everything's a fog back then, but it was probably somewhere is around 12 to 14 somewheres in there.
Speaker 3 (9m 58s): And where are you in Canada then?
Speaker 4 (10m 1s): Oh yeah, no, I'm a Canadian. I live on the West coast and that's where I that's my home. I know that a lot of people confuse me for someone who actually lives in Mansfield, but that's, that's a ladder thing. And my flying career in that came quite a bit later in and no, I live on the West coast, make my with my living here. And that's how I end up paying the bills.
Speaker 3 (10m 22s): And your in Abbotsford is that it said that right at us. It's like, is it rude to say that it's a suburb of Vancouver?
Speaker 4 (10m 30s): Yeah. It's all becoming a giant, giant blob that goes from Vancouver up to the whole area. But yet it's just a little bit East to Vancouver and you paraglider as well. Yep. I also paraglide.
Speaker 3 (10m 41s): When did that start? When did you, but you, but you, but you mostly hang glide or where what's, how what's the percentage.
Speaker 4 (10m 48s): Well, its kind of a, it it's what, it's what sport is best suited for what I'm trying to do literally for the local flying here now in the spring, when it gets really dynamic and there's opportunity. I love flying the rigid wing. I mean that's, that's, that's the aircraft I love to fly. It's just the way they're, it's kind of, you know, I can fly sail planes. I could fly a regular flex wing hang gliders, but the, the, the rigid wing hangs that I fly right now on the toes and stuff.
And they're just beautiful looking at aircraft. I mean, and they're enjoyable to fly and they have lots of performance, but on the other hand, they're a bit of a pain to pack around and hard to get up a mountain. And so quite often for the local flying a, we talked in an earlier conversation about bridal falls, do a hike and fly there with the paraglider. Certainly not going to do it with a rigid wing.
Speaker 3 (11m 43s): And when did you literally was this, was this also the magazine that got you into the sport? What did you see this and go? Yeah. Yeah. Well,
Speaker 4 (11m 54s): You know, it kind of, it was the catalyst. I mean literally if you talk to anybody from that era, they would be looking at the pictures in that magazine and they would be going, you know, on my budget, I can handle this, you know, a black plastic bamboo poles and whatever, and I can commit aviation is the hole kind of field behind it. But you know, what inspires you to go to start flying? You know, it's, everybody's got their own thing. I swear at four or five years old, I fell off of the sundeck, hit my head and that kind of might have been the genetic damage that caused me to become a pilot.
I don't know.
Speaker 3 (12m 34s): We all have a little bit of damage don't we?
Speaker 4 (12m 36s): Yeah, but it is, you know, that and my brother was in the falconry and he had several birds of prey and being around those creatures, you know, you realize how impressive they are and how capable they are. It's that probably left a little, you know, you know, when you see them soar, it's just stunning how, how beautiful they are and a model airplanes. You know, I was fascinated with the, the, the, the space program is flight and, and then along came that magazine and that magazine just kinda, I was literally in school and my buddy brought it to me and said, Hey, look at this, you know, we can stop build models and we can start doing this thing.
And within weeks we had something that actually got us off the ground and it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.
Speaker 3 (13m 29s): Yeah. And tell me about those early days. Cause I, you know, when, when Miguel talks about, we've had a bunch of them on the shelf, not nearly enough, but the, you know, he was literally has he and his brother were making gliders from garbage on the sides of the street and tarps and pieces of plastic and pieces of rope and
Speaker 4 (13m 49s): No kidding. And what was kind of cool about that era was I, you know, people got to realize there was no internet, there was poor, there was poor postal service. There was fuzzy television. There was, you know, communications was, was everything happened in isolation. The magazine kind of revolves around what was going on in California. A but it was happening in Europe. It was happening in England, Australia here, back East in Toronto.
Every, there were everywhere. Somebody, you know, saw that magazine and started taking off with it. And, and like you said, built stuff out of garbage are, are a little thing. And the neighborhood was at that time, everybody had an antenna and they will pick up their television by antenna, but cable vision started coming around. So the antenna's started coming down while the antennas where made out of aluminum poles and, and two big and probably not very good tubing, but it became the core for a lot of the stuff that we started building.
And then, you know, there would be a little more outside information start to show up. I mean, you would just die to get a magazine with a picture of a hand glider in it. You know, it would be just wonderful and you'd look at it and you would measure it if you look at it and then you start to realize, Hey, there's somebody I could send a letter to. And communication started to build. And so to the gliders, I mean, there was the, the, the first decade of hang-gliding was breathtaking. It was, and, you know, even as living as far from the big action, as long as I am up here in Canada, it, it grew exponentially and it grew furiously in it.
You know, sadly it costs a lot of lives. It was incredibly efficient at snuffing people out. It was just, it was just ends for some reason that risky sort of sport just took off. And I think Larry tutor mentioned it in, in yours. And if, if you could cut a piece of tubing, you could become a manufacturer. Yeah,
Speaker 3 (16m 1s): Yeah. It wasn't, there were a hundred, I mean, write off the bat. There were hundreds.
Speaker 4 (16m 6s): And then there was a thing that I put down in my notes here was, ah, we actually had for a brief period, I think around 76, 75, a hang glider, weekly newsletter. I mean, you were receiving one, well, one was Virginia. It was a, it was just like the, the flow of information. It was crude, you know, it was a, it was just folded up a piece of a couple pages or, you know, a double-sided paper. And then you got your, your stamp on it and it came to you, but you'd gobble that up.
And in there, there was just so many manufacturers that were, that, that disappeared shortly after that, there was a, I, I had a, a local kind of a mentor after the first few years that was an importer of a, a, a glider from bill Bennett, a out of California. And he got me into the, the, the first manufactured gliders. You know, my first one was, you know, plastic luminum tubing and plastic sheet followed by another one that was a little more exotic.
And then I got a plans for a, a, a standard Roe Gallo, and I actually bought a finished wing a sale for it. And that became like a couple of years of flying that. And then I bought a commercially built glider and then another one and another one, I think I ended up with the six or seven gliders in that first, first 10 years. And the evolution, like I say, was, was stunning manufacturers were building stuff that was dangerous, that they were pushing the, the performance that, that was a real key thing was to try and have better than the other guy.
Oddly enough, at the same time, there were some pretty respectable designs. It started to come out like the, the, the man of the manta wings, fledgling. That was something that happened at the end of the first decade. It, you know, a lot about 78 or so, and maybe even earlier, and it was a cable rig fixed, rigid wing, but not that easy to fly. So it didn't have a lot of appeal. And it was pretty complicated. There was a glider that I, I kind of wanted to mention, and it was kind of, it created a crossroads for me, and it was a guy from Bennett and it was a, the Phoenix, Mariah, and a rising from the ashes.
It, it was, it was so cutting edge. And in, in theory it was a high aspect ratio. It had an enclosed crossbar. It ah, had a huge wingspan, but the whole thing was made out of like inch and a half tubing. And it, if you don't know much about building gliders, let's just put it into and a half tubing is not really good structural stuff. And not only did this thing Excel in performance, but it also broke the, the, the, the, the, the, the, it kinda was the first major catastrophic failure, have a glider in the sense that we suddenly discovered something that could fly around quite nicely and smooth there.
Or if it got pitched over, wasn't gonna recover. Right.
Speaker 3 (19m 20s): It has worked used. And it's not like that. The guy on the cover here, you know, there's, there's no helmet, there's no shoes, there's a webbing harness. He is not in the swing seat at all,
Speaker 4 (19m 32s): If you'd seen a picture, but if you compare it a picture of that, yeah. To a Phoenix Mariah, and know that it's only about a seven year window, that that took place, you'd realize how, how much the sport it has evolved. So the scene, so the decade kind of ended with, with that, that glider cutting the next level, going into the next decade, where we needed to start making them safer. And manufacturers began to really work on the idea of, I know one of the kits that fix the Mariah was a tale.
It's something that took another 30 years before it showed up on a hand glider again. But yeah, I was, I kinda dug this out. I haven't got a picture of it, but there was a, an early parachute from that era and it was by ban it. And there was a few other ones that were out there Hanbury I think, made a parachute. But the, the cool thing on this parachute was a little small label that was sewing out into the container itself. And it was a waiver.
And there was a lot of issues in the very beginning with tubing and fabric and, and Bainbridge didn't want to sell to hang gliding. Cause it was too dangerous and people getting killed and there was liability concerns. And on this little parachute container, it had a little deckle just sewn onto the container. And it said something to the effect of this product can, may and will fail under any and, or all circumstances assumes all risk. I don't know.
That sounds pretty Bulletproof. That's a good reading. This is, this is what, and it was a ridiculously small shoot. It had like 10 lines. It was a big round thing. It was like a bit being a 10 line are, probably has more of an impact stabilization device that it was a parachute and the big red thing would indicate where the crash site was.
Speaker 3 (21m 36s): Do you think, how did you thinking about this? I mean, you know, you see red bull and you see people these days just pushing the limits to incredible extreme. So it's not, it's not like humans aren't pushing it anymore, but I feel like if, if, if we were starting today with, were you guys, you know, if the last 50 years hadn't had any Free flight, just came out with the first wing and we were starting.
I, do you think that it would happen? I mean, with, with, with, with the way the, I mean, like you said, and, and Larry had some of the numbers, I mean, with the, with the number of deaths, like you said, they were very efficient at killing people. I feel like the, the, it just wouldn't be, it just would be not too dangerous, too many lawsuits. I mean, it, it almost seems like it happened right at the perfect time in history. You got, you guys were all crazy enough to take it on your, in your teams and you're mad. And do you think you're going to survive?
And in a lot, a lot of people did. And, but I just wonder if it would have it could happen today.
Speaker 4 (22m 45s): Yeah. It, it would have a very hard time today because even today what you're running into, as you're running into a, with property owners, if we had that kind of level of a tragedy going on in the sport now, no one wouldn't let us fly there. I, I mean, as it is now, they, they, they, you know, we had a famous pilot who, who was killed a, the, the brother of Nancy Greene and she's a famous skier in Canada.
And he was killed at red mountain, I think, in, in Southern BC here. And it wouldn't matter. It was like 40 years ago. And it wouldn't matter where you were for decades after that, you would be some place and, Oh, you didn't, somebody die hear, you know, and as a famous person and, and, and it would constantly come back and that comes back now, whenever you're negotiating for an access to a land or a takeoff or something, and somebody will always come up with something like that, didn't I hear about it. You know? So even when we have a just, you know, we have accidents, we're not perfect, but those accidents often reflect on our ability to access flying.
And in a way, I mean, the, the, the, the paraglider pilots that are doing all of the back country flying are, you know, the tiger country flying up in the cascades and stuff. Th they don't have to worry about it, but the pilots that have recreational, like their, their thing as they go out to our local site, mountain Woodside in that there needs to be some level of organization. Because if there isn't the average person wouldn't let you on their property with it, it would be very tough for the sport to, unless it was something confined.
I mean, you know, we were, you, you were saying how, you know, hang-gliding in the early days was so efficiently ending people's lives while you could say much the same, a paragliding when it started and make, and maybe paragliding had a bit of an Inn in the sense that there was already established flying sites. And I can tell you that what concerned I was one of those, you know, you, you know, totally against paragliding in the beginning, because This people started showing up and they weren't respecting the sites. And there was a lot of animosity back then, but one of the things that concerned is with a man, you know, we can't start having accidents like this again, it's just not cool.
We're going to end up having problems.
Speaker 3 (25m 11s): Yeah. Yeah. That's always, that's always a risk, especially with the insured sites in that kind of thing. And I know all the Europeans are not in their heads. I ran, well, we don't have to deal with that. But yeah. I mean, so you, you mentioned you spend the summers in Mansfield, and I don't want to jump too far ahead here, but when did that happen? And, you know, for, for people that are listening that have flown Chalan understand what Mansfield is, but you've got to give some kind of, you've got to give a, the, the audience at large, an understanding of what Mansfield is and where it is and
Speaker 4 (25m 44s): Okay, well, that's actually a massive jump. It's like 30.
Speaker 3 (25m 48s): Yeah, no, we're going to, we're going to go back, but I just want to set the tone of the drive here of, of that is, I mean, you have lived your life for a flying.
Speaker 4 (25m 56s): Yeah, well, it, it kinda came down to, we had, we were going through very various iterations of where we would, where we would fly. What are the objectives were? I mean, I kind of followed the natural trend of when I started flying. It was just get a flight followed by get some air time, then start doing aerobatics and then flying cross country and reaching out for different levels in the sport. And we were into the cross country when we started flying Shalane and we're from the mountains.
And then suddenly we found ourselves flying a site where you go out onto the flat lens and like early hang-gliding, you have to go down. So you had to start from some place high that's the way it was starting from the flats. We left that to the crazy Australians who were towing, you know, and they were doing the boat towing and it was just like give some wild stuff came from that era before we really learned how to tow. And, and I, I have to say it at about that time arrow towing was starting to happen to open up flying for people who flew the flat.
So I was involved with a little bit of air with towing here in 85. And about that time we'd kind of went, you know, it, it's got some potential, its kind of sketchy. It really was kind of sketchy, but it had potential. And so we, we, we were off searching for cross country flying and, and I was flying competitively and competitions a little bit Canadian competitions, no offense, Canada, but they kinda stuck in the mail and mainly the sockets because of weather, we just don't have a place where you get consistent.
There's there's been lots of, lots of places where we get good cross country flying a golden where they hold the Willy and stuff like that. It's cool. But they tend to now lean towards an OLC type of contest. Cause trying to have a fixed racing contest in Canada and have five or six days of date. So we, we started, we started flying in Chalan and we thought, wow, these, this flatland thing, you don't need a mountain and God, you can get high in God.
You can get up from law and God, is it ever rough some days out here, but it's a, you know, I flew my first a hundred miles down there, you know, I like a paragliding flight. I got up and got blown a a hundred miles. And that was like, wow, that was amazing. And we started enjoying the place and then it, a typical of Chalan there was, there was an event that kind of went along the lines of, there were some bad fire season, the local club, which was trying to keep the site open, was trying to keep us access to the top.
It started, you had to have a shovel, they had the fire extinguisher, you have to join the club. He had to have OSHA boat, you know, and it became a lot of things and we kind of saw maybe it was some writing on the wall here. Maybe we're not going to be able to get up the Butte, but God, the flats are sure are nice to fly. And we heard rumor of a couple people towing out on the flats and it was just like, okay, I'm there are some potential. And we talked to a couple people and, and guys in Alberta and Canada where we are starting to tow a fair bit. And I, I don't know if you know, Stewart Midwinter.
Yeah. Well he convinced me to, I'm also the guy who, who entered, introduced to us to paragliding. But that's another story on a highlight too. I think that's what it was back in the nineties. Anyhow, he convinced me we could build a winch. And, and so of course, rather than buy a winch for a few thousand bucks, I decided to spend my whole life trying to design one and about nine, 1990 somewheres in there, we started consistently towing out in the flats.
And when we first went out to Mansfield where there is some excellent toll roads, don't tell anyone, please, you know, I don't want to do it crowds out there. And I'll talk about that in a second. But, but yeah,
Speaker 3 (29m 54s): No, that's very certain, that's a lot of sarcasm folks. You are listening to this Mansfield. There's
Speaker 4 (29m 60s): There's guys out there with guns and everything. You don't want to be out there and I'll come back. I'll come, I'll come back to that. But we, we, we, we went into town and we were kind of celebrities. These crazy Canadians came down and they had this towing suit. I had a little toe set up on a trailer and pulled it behind my, a Zuzu trooper and a, we hadn't limited. So we know we actually had some fairly decent success. We had a small group of people that work together with the winch and it worked out well. We would rent whatever vacant house there was in town.
And it's a tiny little town at the end of the rails and the rails got pulled up and the left the town just with some grain silos, there's a couple hundred people. Yeah. We're, you know, between two 50 and three 50, it's been that way for years, maybe four 50 at times. I'm not sure it's got a big high school there, basically from K to a university. I don't know what it covers everything and really nice people. I mean, it really friendly people. We had a neighbor that, you know, helped us find a place.
And some people in town on, in the store, we brought a little money in, not much, it was Canadian money. It was hardly worth anything. But we, we kinda started basing in their basing out of there. And it started in some, for some reason, it just started getting a little bit difficult to rent the place. And especially if somebody could rent their house, they prefer not to rent to us for a month when they can rent to somebody for a year. Sure. So at one point we had a place that we were renting and the guy said to us, you know, she'll that the place is for sale or you might want to offer something on it.
And, and a Mia, my wife and my partner here, and we, I taught to fly back in the late seventies when we met, she, she said, well, we should have to buy the place. And I'm kinda hesitant on it. It's a lot of money. I'd rather buy a glider lunch. And then they came and they mentioned, well, I think he only wants $25,000 for it. And it was a house in the old house with a, a, a three lots, all of its kind of in the, I know it's in the desert, but it is in the floodplain, a town, all the water drains in my neighborhood.
So on the spray in the spring, I got a sump pump. That's running steady to try and keep us alive, but it, it became our base of operations. We've been, we've owned the place now for about a year. Oh geez. That's gets fuzzy. Everything gets fuzzy. But at 16 years, 17 years, I think now.
Speaker 3 (32m 25s): Awesome. So you, you, you and your wife go fly out there every summer,
Speaker 4 (32m 30s): Every summer. We, we, we've now made it a, an effort with the exception of this year because of COVID of the border has been closed. So we were kind of isolated from the, but we make it an effort to go down and Easter opened a place up we're really big into birdwatching and outdoors. And so there's just so much stuff down there that we, we really, really enjoy that. We'll, we'll go down, open it up in the Easter and we won't be, you know, we'll go back and forth probably 10, 15 times and a year.
And its about a four hour, five hour drive. Well, yeah, it would be a five hour drive from here and, and yeah, we would primarily aim for we'd start seriously flying. The tow rig would go down and probably may, may long weekend. And you might book a week there and we'll book like for weeks or something through July and try and get as much, as much as I can get out of my work for holidays. I would go there.
Speaker 3 (33m 27s): I got to say, I mean, I haven't done a ton of flatland flying. I've done Danella Quinn and had done some flying in Spain. And I mean, I have done some, but the flat land flying in Washington state and particularly right there. And we've had a lot of goals at Mansfield. You know, you go out and do a triangle and you land at Mansfield is it's just extraordinary. I mean the, the comp pilots I've talked to over the years who have done world cups and flown all over the world, it's, Schmuland's always number one, it's a special place, isn't it?
It's just a strong and you can see the thermals cause the dust levels to 12,000 feet. I mean, it's just a, it's a special and those are Royals. What it is that is that what you call it? You know, these, these, the, the huge washes, you know, the, the, the Royals, is that what it is?
Speaker 4 (34m 17s): Well, there's, there's, there's, there's the, the, the bad lines that were East of town. The, the, the pot Hills that's, that's one of the, and then there's all the, like, there's a, they call it the, the mini a grand Canyon, which has dry falls. That's an amazing area to fly over. And, and the wheat, I mean, you got wheat, you have to say,
Speaker 3 (34m 37s): Yeah, and you say wheat too, but like the Paloose is a, is a photographer's dream. I mean, when you fly, we had that one real famous. And now since then, there's been even a longer one. But at the time it was the longest task, I think, in world history. And it was two 26 or something. And it w from the Butte out there, and at the end, you know, you're flying out near the Idaho border and you're flying over those fields and your like, Def I definitely took acid this morning. Something's wrong with my, this can't be real.
Speaker 4 (35m 7s): Especially if it's a early enough in the year where there with the weed is still green.
Speaker 3 (35m 12s): Yeah. But you have to be green in the goal and the red and the wild out there is so special. And you want it
Speaker 4 (35m 20s): The rigid wing though, you're looking down in your own, damn, which ways is that Hills, which I don't know. And you go on and on and on because you, you, you you're at the end of the day and the air is a very buoyant. And if your traveling with the wind, by the way, I I've always said, I don't go open distance on a rigid wing because open a open distance on a rigid wing is actually it spells divorce because nobody wants to go and get you after you've gone. However far you can go. Not unless you're your own flying is a pattern and trying to break 700 miles or something, but sure.
You know, we, we like to come back and that's, that's the other reason that, ah, the place had the huge attraction for us is that we, we fly triangles. It's one of the most enjoyable kind of flying than, you know, coming home late in the day, make it even coming up short, just coming back a long ways in a triangle, you know, it's, it's so rewarding.
Speaker 3 (36m 18s): And that's when a hang glider really makes a lot of sense. Isn't it to you because you know, 10 K an hour for you guys is nothing.
Speaker 4 (36m 24s): No, I don't know. I've, I've had my I've, I've had my ass kicked by some PWC pilots down there. They pick lines. Funny story about the, one of the year's with the PWC was a, of course we're starting off to the East and there starting out in the West and 99% of the time, the first thing they're gonna do is they're going on. Well, and they've started doing a lot of neat Northern routes now, but it started, they usually head East, you know, someplace out to a farmer or something like that. And so I'm, I'm a hot rod, you know, a hot shot on my rigid wing.
And I'm flying by myself early in the morning or your early in the day. And I'm starting off with a westerly leg and I'm going out to Waterville and a towards Badger mountain or something. And I see my first PWC thing, gaggle This call them of, I can only imagine what it must look like to some poor guy and a little sass to coming around the corner plan. Is that right? So I I'm, I'm smoking towards it at high speed and thinking I'll do a little fly by and show off.
And as I get closer and go on God, that thing's awful big, I'm going to stay away. There's a little tiny group on the side. I'm going to go bug them and wave at that, but I'm not going near that thing.
Speaker 3 (37m 38s): Yeah. I mean, I was, my next question was just going to be, you know, you've flown literally them all. It must be wild to think back what you are flying in the seventies compared to now th I mean, the, the, the ships, it's just a different sport.
Speaker 4 (37m 58s): Yeah. It's, you know, although I have to say in the eighties, once you started seeing pilots like Larry tooter in that get on a, a double surface glider in the late eighties and early nineties, and start to unleash the performance that they had. It, it, it, it was kind of like the, the, the golden age then in the mid eighties, through the mid nineties, when glider performance started to get up a rigid wings were to be, you know, to be really honest, original Wainwright.
Now the highest performance rigid wing, you can get, be getting 20 to one. I don't know if you believe the manufacturer may be 21 to one another and whatever it's, it's, it's, it's up there, but realistically 18 to 20 to one, and, and a new modern high performance flex wing with a, the best harness, a really good pilot flying in the best configuration all the time. It probably gets up close to 17. Now, 16 to 17 at, at at least, then you toss in, you know, old senile pilot, high-performance glider against some hot shot.
That's really knows how to fly and picks every good line as we can see the air better than I can. I'm I'm at par it's my compensation device.
Speaker 3 (39m 19s): So what were your, take me back to that time, send me in a year in the seventies, people who are falling out of the sky, there's all these accidents. And you're like, yeah, I'm going to, I'm going to go ahead and teach this new girl that I just met to get into it as well. Was there, was there just massive survival bias going on with what, what was the talk at night drinking beers? Cause it just seemed like, I mean, to me, when I talked to Larry, I had the incredible opportunity of sharing some Skye with him down in Texas. This this summer, you know, he's flying paragliders now. It just seems like you guys just detached from the, was it so awesome that you just had to kind of ignore that side of it or was that
Speaker 4 (39m 58s): It, it was so awesome that you did didn't want to talk about it. Yeah. And, and frankly, and in, in, after I had owned the Phoenix, Mariah, and I just paid a lot of money for it in the back then, it wasn't much, but I paid a lot of money for it. And all of a sudden I get re stories that this thing is dangerous. And you don't want to hear that. You don't want to hear that this thing is dangerous and you start guise to kinda going on, man. And at that time we lost two pilots on the same weekend, in two different spots for two different reasons.
And it, it kind of affected me. And I pulled back from the sport a bit. I actually took a bit of a break. And that's when I went in, met my wife, you know, she was a traveling around from she'd come over from the Netherlands. And I think she was looking for a husband and it's noon, citizenship or something. So she S she snagged me in, we went and did a half year, whatever, out in a bunch of clock, exploring the back country of BC and stuff. And she, she convinced me that it was a good idea that we get married and we went to work on that.
And in the meantime, she had driven for some friends of mine and, and, and I had started flying a little bit and, and it basically came down to, no, I'm not going to drive for a year anymore. I, you know, once in a while, maybe, but I want to learn how to fly and I'm going, Oh, okay. So I taught, I taught her to fly. And at that time, well, at that time, I mean, the, really the schools weren't doing much better. So we had gear kicking around and she's a relatively gifted pilot she's, you know, took it naturally and, and did quite well.
And my life was ruined ever since I, I have a shameful of a contest where she actually beat me quite badly, and I was, had a big snit and that to this day, but, you know, it's it, it's, it's both, you know, it's hard to teach someone you really care for, especially at a time when a, the sport was, you know, getting dangerous. And we were starting to understand it was dangerous. I think what helped us up here an awful lot is that it was dangerous when we started to get outside the envelope when we started to really push ourselves.
But the conditions in flying around the country were in here is a lot of Marine, a lot of coastal air, not, not that vicious. And if you were learning in some place like taxes are California and San DIA ore up in the mountains, or, you know, anything big, Oh, man, I don't know. There was a lot of people that, that got killed because the gliders weren't up to the conditions, right. You know, low to the ground, lots of trees. I mean, my incidence in the early years where trees, you all, you ended up in the trees and whatever.
And there was a few of those.
Speaker 3 (42m 52s): I, I love, I love the, I mean, it just struck me when I was talking to Charlie, you know, Larry said he was, he's pretty sure that Charlie was the first one to ever thermal. Now of course, like you said, it's blown up all over the world. So we can't compare it to France in other places where people are getting after too. But it it's kind of wild to think that, of course there was a time where you didn't know that that was possible. Yeah.
Speaker 4 (43m 19s): Yeah. Well, it, it, it would have just come from sailplanes. It would have, you know, they were, they were there and they were doing it, they were turning in the lift and then it would, it would, it would also come from somebody in a contest getting smart instead of just flying to a pylon and back, which was kind of the thing at the day, there was no real soaring. It was like just trying to stay up. And, and, and I think Larry had a little story about while he was flying out and he hit some Lyfts. So he stayed on the list and they basically went out and kept lapping the, the, the, the course and, and you know, what the task, but it was just a case of, Oh, well, maybe I should stay in lift because a lot of it, a lot of the early, sorry, everybody was looking for a Ridge site, we got, we could get our head around the mechanics of Ridge soaring, thermal, that it was a little bit stranger, you know, that was, took a little time, a little altitude.
And then eventually it was like I said, it must've come just from the natural evolution from sailplanes people that were aware of what goes on in sailplane. I mean, books about soaring has been around for decades. Right.
Speaker 3 (44m 26s): Right. Okay. All right. Yeah. I, I miss that. Of course, of course there were a sale point is doing it. So what you, you
Speaker 5 (44m 32s): Mentioned you got in the company.
Speaker 4 (44m 35s): Yep. I flew a fair bit. It was like the, the next local thing that happened. And we started flying contest where you had to fly to a turn point and then the, you know, the spot land, that was the first stuff. And that seemed kind of neat. And then cross country competitions started to come up and, and they evolved. They, you know, we, we started talking about using data back cameras and stuff from that Instamatic cameras for contests. And it was, I, it, it was the sense that it was challenging to push yourself, to go some place and come back or go someplace and land.
There is a goal. And so there was a bunch of that going on. Like I said, unfortunately, Canadian contest kind of sock, and I didn't travel much away from this area. And you start getting tired of putting in a lot of time just to get to a contest. And then, you know, I, you know, carrying it forward, the ultimate end of my interesting contest was more or less the 1989 world championships in fish. I put a huge amount of effort into Get getting there.
And actually Mia had earned yourself a spot on the team, a small side story. There was a pilot, who's a very good pilot. And he hadn't been participating in the point system. And he came to the team and I asked, you know, I said, it was in any way you could get on the teams. So Mia, who is on the bottom of the list, stepped aside and let she went as a backup plan. And the guy who deserved to be on the team, it was like we could of been, you know, real jerks and not let them on the team.
But the guys name is Randy Haynie. He's one of the first big distance pilots that flew out of golden and flew down across to Tayga Montana or just across the line. So he flew right, you know, 200 to a hundred miles back in the big days. And I mean, flying gliders that weren't that easy to fly would have been the magic three or something back then. So anyway, we went to the world championships and literally the day that we pulled up to the landing field, having spent a whole lot of money to get there.
And the weather didn't look that great. Somebody died in the LZ and it, it was not a pilot. It was a visiting pilot for them, I think, Brazil or something, but it kind of set the tone for the whole meat and nothing about the organizers. They did a terrific job, but you get 200 pilots sitting around in bad weather for a whole, almost two weeks. And it was a week and a half, I think, altogether eight days a week. Oh my God, it, we were all crawling. We were, we were not with it.
It w it was great seeing people like, I, I w I met people I'd heard about it for years, and, but I kind of left that going, you know, the whole thing of somebody telling me to go fly someplace on a day that I really want to take off. Yeah. You know, Mia, my wife ran in to much the same thing when she was at, ah, the women's world championships. She actually flew coasts in first. It is about 80 something. I can't remember when they had the women's Worlds over there, but she also flew the world championships down in Chalan and flying off the Butte.
And you know what it's like when it gets windy, there was a push push push to get people in the air. There was a push by a couple of the competitive pilots. I think Carrie castle was one of them and they got in the air, but then Mia was actually on launch. And she says, nah, I don't like it. I'm going to back off. And a couple people got it in the air Kerry council and a few of the top pilots and probably not a big deal for them, but there were a lot of pilots there that, you know, it would of been a big deal too. I've gotten in the air on that real windy day.
And it was bad. You know, it got so windy that they couldn't land down at the, I think the soccer field at the time, they couldn't land over at the BB field. On the other side, they had the land out front, or they had the trial and hope that they could get on to the flats and the colors and the compression was so strong that you couldn't get up. And she was thankful she didn't fly that day. So between the two of us, we both started going, you know, contests, not really what we want to do anymore. And part of it again.
And you know, you, you look at a Florida contest for hang-gliding where the arrow toe, they look like fantastic meats. And maybe, maybe I'd changed my whole psychology. Although I, I have a real fragile ego. I don't like getting beat by anybody. My buddy, my buddy on the level of my wife, with my buddy out in Spokane that Mike, Mike bombs, stad, you see a lot of his videos and stuff that he uploads, you know, he comes out there and there's like the only two of us flying together out there, but he's driving me nuts cause he's right behind me and these on the radio and he is he's hired.
And I, and he's going further Niamh. He is waiting for me to make a mistake. I just fall apart. I can't stand. It
Speaker 3 (49m 32s): Canadian is, you're not supposed to have big egos. You've been spending too much time in the States
Speaker 4 (49m 36s): I know of. And I'm an old man. I need something to look forward to, you know, come home with a little trophy on the wall.
Speaker 3 (49m 43s): Well, and I mean, fish is a fish can be gnarly. I've spent a lot of time there. I have spent a lot of time in that little town, just, you know, in the rain and the wind and not doing anything. I mean, you're at the bottom of the biggest glacier in Europe and I've had a lot of everybody who's flown in the ball on the us is that scary days. And it's a lot on
Speaker 4 (50m 4s): Getting stuck at the top of the Crimson
Speaker 3 (50m 6s): Snake, you know? Yeah. It's a, it's always a dicey proposition.
Speaker 4 (50m 12s): The other thing that we, we, we had a couple of nice flights before the contest got going, but a couple of the things that we started to notice it, man, you get anywhere down in the green, you're done, you know, you get down in the green and you're finished. You're going to be in a side, that's it, it's over, you're going down in the land and you're going to drink beer in a local bar. That's about it as good as it is going to get
Speaker 3 (50m 35s): You guys. I mean, it's just, again, it's hard for me to imagine. We are where you guys landing right there and fish with all the power lines and everything in the, in the little village where it was a goal somewhere else. Cause I mean, that's a pretty tight little spot in paragliding, but I, I can't imagine, you know, 50 hang gliders coming in at the same time at goal there,
Speaker 4 (50m 54s): They broke up into three groups. There was one group went to over the full capacity. On the other side, there was a launch over there that they went to a, and so with the three groups of roughly, you know, 65 to 80 people per group, and then one at the top where the tram was. And then off to the West, I think was the other launch with the three groups. They broke up the groups and they all had different LZs. I did land like first day I sunk out also made me feel really good about contests with my fragile legal.
And I got a funny story about that day. I, I took off scratched around. It was really stable. I didn't know the place that well hadn't had that much experience and I sunk out. I just like, I didn't get it. I just, and I went down with a few people and I did land right at the bottom, down there on the tram. There was a small field down there and the check, a, the check team who had sponsored their entire trip with it, by taking a bus and filling it from one end to the other with Pilsner beer, about layers thick.
I think the, the coach came out and gave me a bottle. You know, maybe you'll have a better day tomorrow. I was obviously, you know, piloting and having a snit. And I'm a famous Canadian pilot who was a kid who didn't fly that day. He was on the team, but he went to another launch and they didn't call a task, came back and he picked me up and his name was Willy Mueller, a father of Chris Mueller. Yep. And Willy, and is a Austrian way. You know, it says, you know, it's OK. You know, and nobody's, it's a, it's a bad day.
Nobody probably got any scoring and it might not even be a valid day. And as we're driving to go pick up a couple of people that did get a little ways away, it says all of this guy here, he probably probably broke his arm, trying to land on one of these snow sheds. And, and I kind of, Oh yeah, okay. Laugh. Oh, it turned out. He did break his arm and he was out of the meat. But, but he, he was Willy was a, a really good guy for a coach. He can't kind of calm things down cause we were all getting pretty grumpy by the end of that meat
Speaker 3 (53m 6s): Legends, the, what has it been like flying all these years with your significant other with the, you know, I've, I've often thought about that. You know, I took, I took Maddie for a tan I'm a few years ago in about 30 seconds into the flight. She's careening her neck around, you know, looking at me going, Hey, did you to, what, what are your plans for Friday night? And I thought you have no interest in this whatsoever. Do you? And she's like, yeah, no, not really. I don't really get it. And I was kinda like, Oh, thank God
Speaker 4 (53m 35s): Lucky. 'cause you know, then at th that's, you know, you are always worried about a, when we, when we push ourselves, you, you, you, you you're pushing your risk and risk management is something that we took a lot of pride in when we decided to stop flying comp. The competition is that it's one thing to push yourself because like Mia behind me here, I've got a few of my world records. Hang on the wall for me, has got more world records on her wall in her side.
Cause she's a girl, she got, got her own records, but she flew them very well and deserved every one of them, but never really having to push other than, you know, take on dynamic days and deal with them. I mean, that, that, that was the level of push that we had between us. And it's hard, you know, you worry about it. You know what I worry about her when she's, you know, a little too far out where we babysit each other pretty good now down on Chalan we, we drive, we crew for one another.
I mean my day to fly her day to fly and I chase her on her rigid wing and she chases me in my day and week and yeah. And we say, well, you know, we do a lot of driving and we, we could just go out there and fly and come back. We had one driver one year that basically sat at the house with the radio and Oh yeah, that's good. Okay. What have we got low? And maybe start packing up a cooler to come out, but we'd have to make it back or we'd be waiting a long time. But anyway, she's, it's, it's, it's hard to tell if somebody in that situation, in their trying to, they want their partner to learn to fly and their partner has, maybe reservedly said, Oh yeah, I'll give it a look or whatever.
Try and have a third party, do the teaching to the its somebody you respect, you know, in my case, Mia learned paragliding from, and I'm sure, you know, Alex Raymont, you know, I don't know if he is actually a serious as a certified instructor right now, but anyway, at the time, you know, he's one of the mentors from the paragliding community that I took on. He was an old hand glider pilot. It's hard to say old and Alex, but anyway, you know, he, he had been hang-gliding in his younger days and moved over to paragliding and he had a real hang-gliding perspective of paragliding and it was very nice to have that translate it.
So she took lessons from him and I felt a lot better about that. And she did what, what we did in hang-gliding, which is a lot of practice, you know, a lot of time on the training Hill and, and that sorta thing. And, and we, we eye on the other hand, self-taught with Alex sort of mentoring me in the background, but I think, I think of, of, of all the, the, the advice that I can pass on two, first of all, for hand glider pilots that have their head up their butter about paragliding and they've got whatever, yes, they collapse.
I got a video that shows you, they collapse and it can get a real mess, but I can tell you right now that they compliment one another. I, I have the two extremes. I have a rigid wing and I have a paraglider, the paraglider when I'm flying in my little local site or Mia and I are flying a little local site and we're scratching. You know, you wouldn't want it. It w having a rigid wing and then flying my little Mount Woodside is like having a Ferrari in downtown traffic. Right? What's the point? That's the point other than a big ego show.
And I, I don't care. I just, it's not the, it's not the craft. Whereas on a paraglider, I get a lot more out of it. I could feel the air. It's a lot more intimate relationship with what's going on in the air. And it compliments on the other hand out for the PWC guys, fine. They love Chalan. I don't think I'd want to fly a paraglider out on the flats. I just don't have the, the, the, the, the, the, the bump factor that takes to fly a paraglider out there.
I get these collapses now, and I literally talk to the window and go, what the hell is that? Why did you do that in a row? What was that all about? It was fine on mine and my own business. So, but, but, but PR PR hang glider, pilots need to understand that if you're going to learn to paraglide, I guess some of the negative attitude comes from, I tried paragliding at all. The same thing happened, and it was just stupid. And I didn't like it and whatever, and they go away well don't and I made the mistake of taking some of my hang-gliding with me to paragliding.
And the biggest mistake is if you're not going full into paragliding and doing the, the full push, you're just using it to support your M you know, to, to back up your, your, your, your flying experience in your area to make it easier, to be able to just grab the parallel glider, go out for a local flight, go at it with the attitude that I'm brand new. And I don't know anything because of you. If you go at it with the attitude, well, I'm a pilot. I know how to fly. No, you don't. And my video bads stall is a good example of yeah, yeah.
Write up out there. I, I gave up the aircraft and I was a passenger, you know, that's it's.
Speaker 3 (58m 56s): And I do like that. It seems like both you and your wife, you know, you kinda, you made this transition and you started flying paragliders for the ease and for, you know, a different, you know, learning again, all the, all those things are really exciting, but you still, it sounds like both of you still on a good day, you're going to fly rigid the life. That's still where the passion is. And I like that. I mean, I like that in terms of, I want hang-gliding to still be a thing, you know, 20 years from now, it's just, they're, they're amazing gliders.
It's a di you know, being prone is a very different,
Speaker 4 (59m 32s): I also, you know, I was going to say a one other little item. I put a note down. It is kind of sad to see that Hang lighting is not doing better, given the gear, right. You mean the stuff that's being built will swing and Moise. And, you know, I I've got nothing but admiration for some of the high performance stuff that these guys were putting out arrows and the, and the, and the, the, the combat series and stuff that they are flying. These are, these are really good aircraft.
And, and they've become a, like exceptionally safe and big air. There's still risk. You know, it's not perfect. You can still tumble and break one of these things in big air, but the gear and the shoots and the recovery systems and stuff that are in place, I just don't understand. And, and even more so for older hang glider pilots that have started to drift away from the sport, because, you know, frankly, the rigid wing that I fly, it's not the easiest thing in the world to land. And I have to admit there's lots of times I don't quite get it right.
And it's not pretty, but you know, when they step back and you can get onto something like a sport three or whatever, version of the sport, that's out there now, by wills wing, there are beautiful, gliders are easy to fly. They land like a piece of cake, you know, they're just, I, it's just stunning that we don't see the sport maintaining or improving or getting more people. And, and frankly, I think you're seeing a little bit of that in paragliding right now. I think that perhaps it's just not that wild risk that that's, some people seem to thrive.
It's become too mainstream. I don't know if that's the right way to put it. It's I I'm seeing locally that maybe it's the cost. You know, it's not a cheap sport. And I think one of the biggest aspects for both hang-gliding and paragliding for what retains the members are, or pilots is, is how much commitment it takes to do it. And frankly, our lives now everybody's life is just so busy trying to, you know, everybody is trying to get by, get ahead, do that.
Is it that the pilots that really Excel are pilots that pull away from that. And, and, and I'm having problems too, in my life right now where it's like, you're kind of, you've got projects and things that are always piling up on the side, and you're getting close to retirement. You've got to start thinking about that and having the time to get out and go flying is not easy. And if you're a student, like I've, I've often when I look at the fresh little students sitting around the field, out at Woodside or whatever, and I, I give them a hard time. You say, are you ready to commit? You know, you should have taken up heroin because at least the government has a plan.
They can help you out. But flying to go, you gotta be committed.
Speaker 3 (1h 2m 17s): Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, when I, when I talked to some of the pilots in Europe where you know that the Brits have of the whole race Academy, you know, the juniors program, the, the French, you can make a living, you know, you, you can, if you grow it, if you come up through the juniors program and France and you work for orange, or, you know, some company part of your income is going to be from the, they have to pay you to go flying. And it's a, it's a national, there's pride in it. There's a national thing.
It's a big sport. As you know, you've been over to and you know, you see people flying everywhere you go. It's just, it, it's our, it's not a, it's not our NFL, but you know, they're, there are a lot more people participating in here. You really do. It has to be, you have to do it on your own. You're not getting a lot of support. And that's hard to do for an 18 year old coming out of school or are coming out of college. I mean, how do you have the time and the money and the,
Speaker 4 (1h 3m 14s): And, and, and the site's the access to the site? You know, we, we rely on a private land owners for landing fields. We rely on government land for take-offs in, in, in the area we're we're from here. Yep. And it, it, I mentioned earlier a gondola, a project for a local flying site here called bridal falls. And my real reservation has less about the gondola. It's more about the business going up on the Hill, you know, are we going to be limited because of business liabilities or whatever, it's just like a concern.
So, yeah. You know, having access to flight flights, I know that the death knell for hang-gliding in, in our area out here is just no training Hills. There are no training and you can't learn. And, and you can learn paragliding from the basic little Hills that around here, but there's a couple of little parks. So once you get the foot launch down and you get a little bit of background, you can go fly off a mountain and light, calm air in it. It all works out nicely. A where are the hand glider? You've got to really perfect, the takeoff and landing, and there is no place to do that here.
The other people try to tell you, I mean, you can try that, but nothing, if your foot launching, you need to have a training Hill and we don't have anything. And it's so hard to find anything to replicate that or do that. And that hurts the sport.
Speaker 3 (1h 4m 37s): Yeah, sure. And we were talking about insurance stuff before we, we started talking to it is too complicated here, and I want to hear more stories, but that's it, that could be a big death nail coming to us, certainly down in the States right now. It sounds like we're going to be, we're kind of on the cusp of losing a lot of sites. It is just the insurance rates keep going up and the clubs can't afford it. But leaving that aside for a second, you mentioned, you mentioned records for both. You let's, let's go into that a little bit.
Speaker 4 (1h 5m 9s): Sure. It's it's was just kind of, I got to call it my competition task on the day when I wanted to do it. When the conditions look right, you know, I got to pick the day I got the pick, the direction I wanted to go. I love doing triangles. I, I find they're a, a, a, an amazing Equal-i-zer strategy and there is lots of stuff involved. So in the flats, when you haven't got a mountain to run into, you can really drive some amazing triangles down there, though.
I have to, you know, hats off total respect for the top paragliding pilots that are driving the big distances in the Alps. You know, even the, the, the rigid wing pilots that have been flying there, don't quite grab the big back country stuff. You know, there was a real rough terrain and weigh out in the mountains that, ah, the paraglider pilots who are doing, and, you know, the fact that you can put a paraglider down practically anywhere is helpful. You can smash a lot of carbon trying to put it down in a spot that's not suited.
So we tend to be a little bit more reserved and where we get, even with the great performance. I mean, a good example of that would be something like a, a big 200 K triangle that was flown here in an area that you've flown near Pemberton. And they flew up over the Pemberton glacier and they flew back over it. It is unbelievable lines. Those lines are just, it gave me the shakes
Speaker 6 (1h 6m 38s): And thinking about my rigid wing. And I'm going to keep a lid on, like, I bought a 15 to one out of here. That's it?
Speaker 4 (1h 6m 42s): That's the way I gotta keep it in mind. I just cannot think of ever landing this glider back here. That would be the end of it. Right. So know is it that the flats and chasing triangles and then chasing triangles for speed? There's its kind of cool when your, when your only competition is the clock and your head, you know, you, you you're chasing after a triangle, you're trying to drive around it. You know what the speed is, you know, like, you know, at the time in the day I was chasing one 50 K and the a hundred K and those are easy. Those are like in the sense that I'm going to do it in to hours for a hundred K I gotta do it three hours.
And, and you, you, you, you,
Speaker 6 (1h 7m 19s): You know, you get a really good thermal
Speaker 4 (1h 7m 21s): And you go, okay, I got to get a good line. And if I pick a good line, are there another good thermal or street or go off course a little bit to pull the street. It's really fun, challenging in your head. And there was a record where we actually set just a little while ago in Europe involving the 25 K and again, a real technical task to fly because your, your, your having to not only drive the coordinates of the tasks, you have to be in the case of the 25 K and 50 Ks, especially there's a start and finish the altitude that you have to know.
If you start really high, you got to end really high. You know, there's, there's only a certain percentage you're allowed to have for differential. You can't climb to, you know, on the 25 K climbed at 12,000 feet above the ground
Speaker 6 (1h 8m 8s): And roar,
Speaker 4 (1h 8m 10s): You know, it just staying up wherever you have to go and then arrive on the deck. Would you get back? No, that doesn't count. I didn't think
Speaker 3 (1h 8m 16s): About that. I didn't know that that's what is that?
Speaker 4 (1h 8m 20s): I call it threading the needle, you know, it's, it gets even the a hundred K. There is some numbers you need to keep in the back of your head. You need to go, okay, well, I'm going to arrive at this altitude. I should it be okay? And you don't want to rise super high in your altitude window either. We made you wasted time. You're going to wait to slow. So, you know, between the two of us, we, we started pursuing triangles out on the flats or out and returns on the flats. And, and eh, you know, from an ego perspective, it's easy because there's nobody else chasing records.
I mean, the bureaucracy of chasing records is a whole bunch of paperwork. We're trying to make that simpler. But back in those days, I mean, I know some of my records were set using a repository paragraph, which is a thing that you crank it up. And it's got a little drum inside and a little needle followed a little piece of paper that had some sort of coding on it. It would leave a trace and it has to be certified. It has to be taken to an aerodynamic arrow, an arrow, a shop to get them to the barracks, put it in, in a barrel or a paragraph chamber, whatever, and calibrated that'll had to be done, forget the wind, or you forgot to turn it on or some stupid thing.
And you have a great task. And this is things just got to a point or sitting in the same spot you go, Oh great.
Speaker 3 (1h 9m 34s): So you're running that damn thing. And you're taking pictures of the way points with the pictures of the waves.
Speaker 4 (1h 9m 42s): We actually had to be good enough that you could verify. Right. And the funny thing on the flats
Speaker 3 (1h 9m 48s): Is where are your vertical
Speaker 4 (1h 9m 50s): References on the flat? So your pin pitchers are silos, a building's barns. You know, you do anything to find something with a cord and it's on it that you could use it. And, and, and data back cameras, you had to use data back cameras. Oh, and you had to have an official observer. So you, you know, you recruit friends in whatever and get them to write their certification or, or sign up for an official observer status. And it, it, it's not easy. And I just finished adjudicating a speed record in Canada here, ah, for a world record, a guy flying a Swift back East.
And he, you know, it's so easy now to adjudicate 'cause you gave me the Jeep, you gave me the IGC file and all inserted in to see you. And I'll, I'll assign the task. I don't even need an IGC datalogger I can just assign the task and I can read it. And I can give you a start and finish Altitude's when you've got to your turn point, that the turn point had the poor guy had, had set out on several occasions to set a record and manage, to find almost every possible way to screw up like a, the, a, a minimal leg distance that's involving a cylinder.
You know, he was navigating his task to the, to the actual Waypoint instead of taking off the subtracting the cylinder. And so he flew this and it was like a hate to tell you about, you know, its kind of like 99.8 kilometers. You, you felt a little short, it's not a a hundred K speed. You know, I'm glad you stuck with it because he served his last record. It was a, it looked good. It's good to see the, the, the, the, the FAI in civil could do a lot better in making this simpler and a weed.
Like I like to see, I'd like to see electronic declarations, there's sort of this thing now where you have to have a, a, a advanced notice via an email or something to your knee national Aero club. And that could be cleaned up and made simpler. I, at that point, I don't even know if you need an official observer at your, at your point, but at your start point, but it would have been helpful if you make your task declaration in advance, you know, that's, that's, that's kind of the crux of proper record set.
Speaker 3 (1h 12m 6s): Yeah. You know, the, I kind of woke up to some potential that I never even knew existed in. And of course, like you said, the SailPoint has been flying wave out there for a long time. So I was, you know, I just didn't know about it. It was stupid, but the, you know, what you hear all the time to South Africa, Brazil, Texas in Australia, to an extent those were the big one's, but what about Alberta? Are we, are we missing something to, do you think something really big to go down there or is what they want?
Because it was that two summers ago are actually, it was spring. It was like April or may I? And I forget what, how far they went three 80 and then it went pretty big. Yeah.
Speaker 4 (1h 12m 44s): It, it, it was a pretty big it's it's, it's never going to be a triangle site, although
Speaker 3 (1h 12m 51s): It was good for just for just open distance because they are,
Speaker 4 (1h 12m 54s): I think either you run out of the day, you run out of the day is just too far North that's too far North in, you run out of the day, you know, is it that the big distance places for open distance will be Zapata, Texas, that corner outside of the dry liar? Yeah, yeah,
Speaker 3 (1h 13m 13s): Yeah, it did. When I saw those go down and it was early season, it was, we were still staring at snow here and Oh my God, that's awesome. That's very cool.
Speaker 4 (1h 13m 22s): And they have a miles and miles and may thing, a fundraiser thing that they do. And then there's a lot of distance can be flown there, but it tends to always be open distance. Although it was a few of the Hang pilots and stuff are doing out and returns in that, but it tends to be windy. So it is an open distance thing. And I believe it or not, even though it's the great white North and there's nothing going on up here and we haven't really gotten a military, you know, we got to guys with soft with camels, the you've got the airspace and the one big difference between Canada and the States when it comes to air space and hang gliding, and paragliding is in Canada, we're considered aircraft.
And in state we operate under, it was a one to four, one to three or whatever it's called for and you're as a recreational vehicle. So the laws and regulations are quite a bit different. And so there is certain kinds of airspace in the States that you can fly through that you can fly through in Canada. And, and it does create some headaches and you know what it is, we've got the ability to, in Canada to write something called the Haggar, or it's a, it's an irregular irregulation in the exam and it gives you the right to fly within class E airspace in Canada and some other controlled airspace, if you get permission.
And there has been a few flights where there's been some challenges, even of all places, I mean a golden where it's quite possible to get to a 14 or 15,000 feet up there. And you would think it would be all uncontrolled, but it isn't they're, there are now routes that run up there that technically, you know, if you put it in an aerospace checker, it'll show you a broke the law. And yeah, it's, you know, just South of golden, a near a mill machine and stuff, arrow gate, I think down that way, there's, there's a couple of years and out of roads that are out there that involve Revelstoke further to the West and Vancouver over the top of, out of Calgary, umm, there's a few navigational roads that technically we're not allowed to go in and they're really confusing.
Like they are really hard to interpret because they involve glide slopes and the altitude at this point and, and you started bumping into them and, and it's, it's not really critical, but it is a loss. So, you know, it, it, it it's challenging. Whereas the only thing, the only thing we've got to watch for in a man's field is your military content and make things a little exciting. I mean, I've, I've actually got some video footage, I think on YouTube where I'm actually not military in this case, it was Boeing and they're operating a seven 47.
And at first I see a shadow on the ground. I think again, that's, that's a big plane in that. And then I realized that's a big plane. That's a big show. Cause the both of them are right on the ground. And this thing was cruising around a seven 47, right over the toast site at about 800 feet. Wow.
Speaker 3 (1h 16m 17s): Oh, it sounds like marshal, but, but with big and scary
Speaker 4 (1h 16m 25s): Regularly see a sixes or the whatever Prowler thing or whatever it's called. And we, we, we would see a few of those regularly flying there. The, the, I think they have something where, you know, Jamison Lake. Yeah. Well they shoot a, a, a, an, a, a, some sort of approach for a sub spotting. Like there's some Marines down there. I don't know. But they, they, they simulate stuff into that Canyon. So they'll come bombing out. They're in pairs as well.
The Prowler has been replaced now. I think it's F 18. So they're a little bit more dramatic when they come by.
Speaker 3 (1h 17m 2s): Okay. That's, that's a good, that's a good segue then. So when you think back to the almost 50 years of flight, a most memorable sketchy experience, Oh,
Speaker 4 (1h 17m 16s): The most Get my recent crash in launch. It was a site that was a, it was something that was out. It was kind of like, wow, that one could a really a could of hurt myself, but you know, it would probably involve weather. You know, it, you know, it's one of those things where you're pushing yourself and a, this, this really okay. There was the one that kinda stuck out was probably back in the late eighties. And we were flying in Woodside, our local Marine site.
And there was a wind warning up that day while we were hanging out or a pause, we had, you know, wind warning, what was it? This can't be that bad. And, you know, wind warning usually means it's good and storable really good Ridge lifts. So we were kind of not looking at the weather and we didn't realize that this weather system was going to be so dynamic. And I, I got the launch and I was setting up and yeah, the day it looked a little funky at This. There was a lot of streaky looking and cloud's to the South, you know, all Stratus.
And it was just some, some odd looking clouds. Yeah. Yeah. Well, they were just, they were, they were getting flattened out by something, maybe the high wind warning, you know, and it could have been so at, at, at 11 o'clock in the morning, which would be unusual. I launched in to possibly, you know, 20, 25 mile an hour winds, which is fine, but it was early and Mia who was set up behind me. She, she started to move out to launch. And by that time, three or four other people had gotten in the air and it was starting to blow 25 to 30 on launch.
Oh, okay. Let's get it up there. And she got up towards launch. He said, nah, this something's going on. She packed it in and, and broke down lucky for her. The about a half dozen of us who got in the air, a winds picked up to, you know, I'm guessing probably 50 miles an hour to 45 to 50 miles and hour. And it was like penetrating out. It was a problem because now your, at the top end of your glider, and, and you're not making much headway.
And you had to really work the lift to be able to get out to the landing field. And I remember looking down at the LZ and I went going, those trees are just like blowing over and they're just bending in every direction. Geez. Yep. And so it's, it's what saved me that day. Well, other than luck was just kind of an adage that I like to pass on to a lot of pilots, which has never stopped flying the aircraft, no matter what's going on, don't stop flying the aircraft. In fact, your first rule should be, get the aircraft to the ground.
In one piece, it might break something might not be the, what you wanted for a landing. But if you get the glider to the ground in one piece, chances are you're coming along just fine. Right. And it was violent, rough coming in from no wind on the ground to 35, 40 mile, an hour winds and gusting. And, and about four of us manage to pin at, into the field. One of us took a wild ride. I managed to get down in the field. And then it was like, once you were there, you got, you got to get the hell on clip 'cause you don't want to be attached when it starts gusting again.
But that was the most, that was probably the, the, the, the worst flight that I ever had for potentially getting in a lot of trouble.
Speaker 3 (1h 20m 37s): Is that it have any kind of long-term. Did that change anything for you to not have any kind of fear injury? You know, we talked about it a lot on the show. Is that, what did that leave? Any tendrils of sketch? Just
Speaker 4 (1h 20m 50s): No, that, that, that didn't in the sense that other than gee, maybe you should pay attention to the weather forecast from now on. Yeah. It was a good learning experience, but if there was something that left, you know, in an incident, you know, and now you got me primed up here a little bit flying in golden, I was doing and trying to fly some out in return, record attempts up there. And I tumbled. And normally, if you tumble a hand glider, it's going to break, it's going to break and you, or you're going to end up upside down and you're going to have to deploy your chute and come down under a canopy.
I tumbled the glider came around right at itself. And now I was able to fly again. And the thing that affected me the most then was the fact that it just like, literally came out of the blue. I had,
Speaker 3 (1h 21m 44s): If you can put it on something you couldn't under, it didn't make sense.
Speaker 4 (1h 21m 48s): No, it, it just slammed the nose. The nose just pitched down pitch past. And I went, Holy Mack and I'll just hang on. And next thing at all on the right side up and flying in. And then the next part of it was a, the glider had a turn in it and I bent something. I bent the glider up pretty good on one leading edge. In fact, I know of a pilot to that very similar spot. This is down there that spot I mentioned earlier, Herro gate, we nicknamed at horror games and the, the same, a, another pilot, I knew tumbled there and broke the glider on the leading edge, but recovered and flew down, knowing something wasn't right.
But didn't know what, and when he was on the ground and realized the leading edge was broken halfway between the cross bar and the nose blade, wow. A very bur or Berry, a Bateman, a, a, an English pilot came to Canada and tell us, you spent his whole life telling us about the wonderful green grasses and Hill's in a blend. He, he, he tumbled out there and came under a pear, came down under a parachute. I was able to get the glider out. And I, I was just concerned. It was gonna break. I had something broken and I didn't know what, so I actually at about a thousand feet over the, the Herald Gates store, a good landing field there, I put the glider into a bit of a speed in a pitch, just a, kind of a loaded, up to see if anything was going to break.
So I'd have enough altitude for the chute to come out and I was satisfied. Okay. And it didn't break. So I should be able to run and approach and not risk of breaking upload with the ground. So yeah, that, that left an impression with me in the sense that, you know, you, you, you, it happened just so violently out of the blue that you go, yeah, this could happen again. And I I'd have similar things after that. And I have to admit, even now there's down in Shalane, there are a man's field. There's a, a line that we drive quite regularly, a long Badger mountain to the South.
And it can be rough. There's some sort of convergence, sheer thing goes on a lot down there. And some days when you're, when you're into like an hour of just a rough today, that's in the back of your head.
Speaker 3 (1h 23m 57s): Interesting that you say that about that incident, because it Karrie brought that up. When she tumbled, she was at a comp in Austria, I think it was. And it was the second time she tumbled. So she tumbled in the Owens the first time. And it was all, it didn't bother because it was so obvious why it had happened. You know, you're on the Owens now. She is in Austria and it's a beautiful, perfect she's winning. And the cop, she is going up to Cloudbase and all of a sudden she tumbles and it really messed with her head for quite awhile, because she, like you said, she couldn't like, even when she is on the ground and she through a room and she didn't, she wasn't able to recover it.
Like you said, if she and her glider just disintegrated and she had to throw a reserve, but she said it really messed with her for a long time. Just like, what the hell does hit me? What, what caused that?
Speaker 4 (1h 24m 45s): Yeah. I think something that's like exceptionally on a, a sudden and out of your control will, if it doesn't leave an impression, I don't know. You're either made of iron or whatever. Right. You, you know, you, you've got to keep that in your head and you've got to keep, well, what do I do about it? You know, like one of the biggest reasons that I stopped flying the high performance flex wings, and it was, there was, there were two reasons. One was they're quite fatiguing, especially in the early ones. They're fatiguing the fly.
So when you fly for six or seven hours, I mean, even Larry tutor will probably tell you that you, you start to get a carpal tunnel. You start to get, you know, 10 tonight is a, when you fly rough area, you grip, you know, like you're always gripped, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's my paragliding a mistake is I, I tend to grab my risers. You know, I start leading it on my rise is when it gets a little rough and you get a grip, you psychologically, you, yeah. You psychologically not really relaxed. And you know, when you're, when you w when you, when your trying to a so-called relax in big, rough, fair, bad things can happen because you're not flying the glider, you know, like being active as a paraglider, you start just going on and I just have to relax.
You might be setting yourself up for a big event because you're not feeling the wing.
Speaker 3 (1h 26m 4s): Yeah.
Speaker 4 (1h 26m 5s): So, so the flex swings were beating me up. And I was cause I was putting in a lot of hours and re very rough area. And I have the option of just giving up flying flex wings and maybe go into paragliding. And I didn't really see that as practical for, Chalan not, not the way I felt about paragliding at that time. I, I thought, well, rigid wings. They have aerodynamic controls. There's less stress when you're flying them. And the big thing that happened in that era was they put a tail on them. Poral Davis Strobbe whose done a lot for our sport for being a great communicator are at least providing a forum that we can communicate.
We don't always agree with the guy, but he's actually the guy who got me, my first flight on a rigid wing, there was a demo day thing happening and in the local area. And he showed up and I got a chance to fly in a, to B. And it planted the seed for about five years later when I got a rigid wing. But when they put a tail on them, things got a lot nicer. You can drive some very, very nasty air in a rigid wing and it's yeah, it's bumps and it's, you can go weightless, but I've never, ever felt like my rigid wing was going to ever pitch over on me.
The tail end in the new design and the latest carbon fiber keel arrangement they've got on the new ones. They're just so awesome and rough air. So it's like now the eight hosts that I'm flying now is the excellent choice for flying the rough air of the basin. You know, I feel comfortable on it. You know, there's days when I get flashes flashbacks of the old tumble stuff that's happened in the past, but it's just more, you know, it's got a tail man and just fly it, it, it, it, it will be fine.
Speaker 3 (1h 27m 45s): I, can you tell me about the psychology differences that you can remember? Obviously, like you said, it, it does get foggy. It certainly gets foggy for me too. But when you think back to, you know, when you were learning in the seventies, compare that to now, has it been kind of a wave? Is it an up and down thing? Is it, or because I, I definitely feel like I'm paying a lot more attention to fear and I'm having to, I'm having to be more mindful about, you know, keep checking in.
This is just an attitude that's going on between the two years years. I can change this, but I'm having to work at that more than when I was young and dumb. And I'm trying to figure out if that's just because I've got more experience, I've seen enough people pound, I know how risky this is. I'm not so stupid anymore. Or if it's just age, I got a three-year-old. I I'm struggling to understand what you, what it is.
Speaker 4 (1h 28m 47s): Yeah. I, couple of things I'm going to, I'm going to go to my bad stall video. Okay. So what bad stall does? I think I mentioned something in the comments on it, but a, you know, that really went, Holy crap. I really screwed up there and, you know, giggle, laugh, and you know, what kind of like a false sense of security that all okay. I just need to learn to do better, but had I just put my tail between my legs and soaking wet, wandered off and disappeared for the rest of the day.
I know I age braggadocio, at least that descent, he must aged about 10 years. I don't know. He was trying every conversation on the radio. And I'm kinda like, you just shut the op, I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing. And I don't know what I'm doing, but you're not helping not right now. Right. But what he did that probably did a lot of good for me was to come on, get back on the horse was the essence of it. And all, you gotta go out and do it again and again.
Well, I glad it was broken. I told the lines of it as well. Fly me. His glider in Mia was flying a, a, a, a, a gin sprint. So it's a, it's a, it's a low B are a B wing glider, but it was small. So I was going up to do a stall on a heavily loaded bee glider. And he pushed me through as it was for four stalls on that couple of weren't that pretty, but I managed to get those the same day, another set of stalls out of the way.
And I think it did me a huge amount of good. If, if something bad happens to you and you don't take time to really analyze what happened, you might not go flying again. And maybe a good thing, maybe a bad thing, but you, you, you need to realistically ask yourself and that's something as dangerous as that. You know, I, you start asking yourself, well, is it worth it? Well, I've always felt flying. It's been worth it threw all the years. You know, maybe because I'm not good at anything else, but this is what I do.
And I, I've never considered myself a really good pilot. I'm a mediocre pilot that tries to fly safely. I try and use a lot of the education that I learned from the, the, the accidents of other people in the past. I've, I've really tried to carry that with me. When I go someplace, you know, you, you, you don't have to fly on a, on a bad day. And I see payload people with minimal skills are skills that are the questionable going, flying, or ignoring a cloud, or ignoring the wind or, or something like that. And I'm going, and then they get away with it and it reinforces something that isn't going to do them any good down the road, you know, it's but yeah, it is.
I, you can ignore it. You, you, you really have to there's there's times when I've told and I'm going out and just not in, it's not feeling right today. It just, you know, it w w w when we tell out, out at our tow site there it's dynamic. I mean, w when I flew high-performance flex, it was, it was challenging. It was like the edge all the time. When you were flying under full thermal conditions, dust devils around the toe site, you know, I, I used to call a glider set up or a glider set up and Mount it on the rig bait.
That's what it is. It's dust devil bait. And I Mia, when she set her, her a a hundred K out of the return speed record down there, we had a observer, the glider was loaded. She was in the truck. The observer was in the trucks, Nicole, McClurg a McLaren. And she, we had a dust devil pop-up on the road, a literally a hundred feet in front of us, 200 feet in front of us. And I said, well, we've got an option here. And that is to back away.
And she didn't quite understand, but I, I, I, I carefully back the truck up and backed it out into a field, out away from the dust devil. It, it's not an option that's always available, but it was like, gotta be aware of. And, and, and, and it's, it's like, if you, somebody was talking about, I think, on your, your, with the Dutch instructor, that you mentioned something about being able to see the air. And I I've often said, I don't know, maybe you wouldn't want to fly if you could actually see it.
Speaker 3 (1h 33m 21s): I think it would be terrifying. That'd be all of the Columbia,
Speaker 4 (1h 33m 24s): The Columbia basin, if you fly there anywhere, Shalane out towards a Wilbur, but if you fly there in September, the ground is as dry as it can possibly be in the dust. Content is as high as it possibly can be. And the number of dust devils that you see, it's probably no more than it is in June and July, but if you could see them all,
Speaker 3 (1h 33m 49s): Yeah, no, I had a, I had a, a newer pilot contacted me one time, just over, you know, over the internet and said, you know, wouldn't it be awesome if Google or one of these companies could make glasses where you could see the atmosphere? And I just said, well, that would totally wreck the sport a good, I mean, th that's the magic is not being able to see all that. And B no one would fly. I'd be terrified if we can see what was going on in the sky. And we would never go for it.
Speaker 4 (1h 34m 19s): I, I think it would be kind of cool is if back to the, my hated dreaded a gifted pilots, a, you know, a pilot, there was a pilot, a, one of the, the Chalan classic, Joe Bostik famous hang glider. Pilot said something like that. Nobody could understand why he took this crazy line of Lahey, way up over Pearl Hill, way out chief dose of damn, and then kind of curled back into Shalane and landed after doing like a, a 182, a hundred kilometer triangle, and nobody, nobody else had any reasonable luck that day.
And he said, well, I could see there convergence up there, and I'm going to, how do you see, how do you see you Monday?
Speaker 3 (1h 35m 4s): Okay. There are, there are Eagles in our sport may in fact, rumor and Kriegel and they see stuff. I don't know how to do it either. Yeah, no, he's, he's a really talented pilot. We'll see what you, you mentioned, I'm going to get into some kind of rapid fire questions. You were in a sec, but you mentioned that there was a lot of crossover. What do paragliders, who haven't flown hang gliders? What are they not know?
What are, what are, what are some of the things that you've picked up over the years from hang-gliding that are transferable? That maybe aren't as obvious? Because like, one of the things to me is watching hang gliders in Brazil, who have I flew with Jeff Shapiro down there. He's really good at picking lines. I think hang gliders, get really good at picking lines. Maybe, maybe, cause you've got the better glide. And so you can get to it. I don't know. But it seems to be that you've got a better feel for
Speaker 4 (1h 36m 8s): Wait. It might, it might have something to do with you. You pick a better line or a stronger line or, or, or, or a, an advantageous line 'cause you don't thermal is as good as a paraglider. You just have, you know, even on a, even in a toast, I can climb, I can out climb a paraglider if it's the right day in the right circumstances. But as far as being able to adjust and pick up on the, on the tiny corner or something, not as good as a, you know, I, it it's, it's like an evolutionary comparison.
If you have a paraglider pilot in the middle or a Hawk in the middle of a paraglider pilot, a hang glider, pilot, and then there'll be a, sailplane doing a stately turned around on the outside and everybody is going up at the same speed because somebody had to give something up. The sailplanes got massive, better sync, right? Yep. But he has to fly a big circle. You can't get right in there. If he banks it up in the middle, he can't climb as good, a good point. But, but, but, but, but carry over, you know, like from a paraglider pilot that wants to learn about hang-gliding, it's more about speed management learning, you know, fly, fly, slow.
A funny, a funny story. I've I've flown other aircraft. I've flown in sailplanes I've flown in powered aircraft and kind of for powered aircraft or sail planes, knowing where the aircraft stalls is a big deal. Yeah. That's really important to how you've you fly you, you know, if you're flying by feel, you gotta know where the thing is going to stall, not just by looking at the air speed indicator, you've got to know how the aircraft is telling you. You're getting close to stall. Well, in a hang glider or a sail plane are a power plane.
When you stall other than a spin entry or something, you are, it's a fairly straight thing. Three forward thing. It's fairly not dynamic whatsoever. Well, I'm, I'm, I'm telling my instructor, Alex, about, you know, I was kind of seeing how slow the glider would fly and he'd kind of turned pale. Please don't know what I'm saying. He's go, don't do that no more. And then of course you do, you do about it. You do a stall and you go, Holy crap. That's a whole lot different. But so, so the speed management, I th I th I think you, you you've used the phrase a couple of times.
Speed is your friend. Yeah. The other part of that expression is speed is your friend don't abuse the relationship. And that is like, I've had people come to me and ask about flying rigid wings. And, and frankly, a rigid wing is a pretty sweet aircraft to fly. But one of the things you really have to respect is air speed. Some of the models I used to fly a glider called the VR, and they will literally fly an accelerate until they explode a, a sail plane.
As much as the same. If you put the nose down, you can break, you can rip the wings off of it. It's you can intentionally rip the wings off. And my, my VR I've had it up to speeds, getting close to 75 miles an hour. It's your, I'm sure that the designer is freaking out. Now, if he hears that glass smooth they're and, and, and you let the speed creep up just to see what it's like up there. But, you know, you literally start having to pay attention because of speeds is not to exceed in the DHB certification, a 55 miles an hour for a rigid Wang is its kind of that VNA do not exceed and fly slower with more flaps.
If it's rough, paragliders the speed just sort of happens. I, you know, I fly low B wings. So you know, I step on the speed bar and I go, okay. Yeah. Wow. Okay. Whatever. Yeah. It's just going faster now. I don't know, I guess the whole way, but it is it's speed management is a huge thing. Whereas in hang-gliding you less about field, you do acquire a certain natural field, but when you go to paragliding, there's just gobs.
Morefield the seats, move it around. You know, I remember I took a, a, a, a, an odium harness for a test flight with no seat board or anything. It was freaking me out and it was moving and dancing around and I'm going not on, no, I want to see a board. I want to, I want a La-Z-Boy comfort chair. I don't, I need, I need stability. It's a too nervous for me. And, and, and, and so when your, when your, when you're a hand glider pot, and you go to paragliding, you have to appreciate the speeds are different.
The glides are different, the aware of a, you know, maintaining your aircraft in the air. Is it something, you know, handle on it? Are you getting in the air? It it's, it's built, you know, you, the joke about paragliding is that, you know, it's the only aircraft do you take off in reverse, or you wish you a taxi and reversed. You assemble during takeoff in flight maintenance.
Speaker 7 (1h 41m 5s): That's great.
Speaker 4 (1h 41m 6s): You know, it's just, you're constantly having to pay attention. And if you don't pay attention to the left, you know? Yeah. Fortunately, you know, at, and for hand glider pilots looking at, going into paragliding, I can't do it, give you a much advice the other way, but four, a hang glider, pilot that considers paragliding go at it with an open mind, don't take all of your, your, your attitude and, and, and, and, and, and, and skills into paragliding. Think it's going to do anything for you because you need to learn all over again.
Yeah. You need to realize that the aircraft's quite a bit different. There's a lot more field. There's a lot more subtleties to flying a paraglider in a paraglider. It's the easiest thing on the world to learn. It's just totally simple, but get in trouble and all of a sudden,
Speaker 3 (1h 41m 55s): Yeah. It's like, it's like Russ Ogun says it. It's the easiest thing to learn. That's the hardest thing to learn to fly. Well, it is. Yeah.
Speaker 4 (1h 42m 3s): And, and, and a hang glider on the other hand, it's hard to get it off the ground. It's a there's instructors that would argue with that, but it's a, it's a much more challenging airdrop aircraft to get off the ground to land it. And that's, you know, once you get those two things out of the way in your ACE, in that stuff, the flying is pretty straightforward. You know, your typical errors that new pilots make, you know, judging glider and how to fly it
Speaker 3 (1h 42m 28s): Martin if you could rewind the clock, what would you change
Speaker 4 (1h 42m 35s): Going back? I don't know. I maybe, maybe a made more effort to go to other competitions that were outside of my little back yard. I've had people say that, you know, you should have flown. I shouldn't have not gone to Australia. Never did. But I, once I went to the Shalane and go on dirt Sturt, I mean, I go to Australia to choke on the same dirt, sit around a 105 degrees, 110, you know, and it's the same thing. So I didn't need to waste all that money. I could waste them on gliders and beer.
Speaker 3 (1h 43m 8s): Hey, before we started talking, we were having a little laugh about our, our mutual friend, Larry tutor. And you said you were going to save a good story about a day or two. Tell me some Larry stories.
Speaker 4 (1h 43m 21s): Okay. Well, the, for the first one that every American needs to know is that he is a trader. He he's spent a great deal at a time in Canada trying to raise money for the Canadian team. I don't know if that was just a boost, his points position in the world championships
Speaker 3 (1h 43m 39s): You might've had. So he, he,
Speaker 4 (1h 43m 40s): He came out twice and gave great level talks, funny, the same stories that you had, but hang on the pilots, you drink a beer and he'll listen to any story more than once. And yeah, he did it. He did, he did, he was a very, a gracious host at a couple of the, a speaker at a couple of the fundraiser that we did. So just so you know, he was back in the enemy. Not that we were challenging anybody, but, and the other, the other story was a, when Larry was flogging gliders and he was visiting the lower mainland.
And I think the big glider at the time for a recreational glider was a sport. I think there was a, I dunno, in HP or something, enclosed crossbar thing. And he was, you know, doing the old Schilling gliders, selling it, selling a month for representing wills wing. And it was running up and down the mountain. And we were having a comp the locals we're having a comp you know, all it was is hyperventilating, competition pilots and all thinking, you know, like I'm thinking I'm really hot. And so you get up to the launch and there is a glider sitting on the launch and a it's not assembled.
There's just bits and pieces of it laying here and there. And it's sitting in kind of my prime spot. You know, what, what, what goes here, whose glider is this? And nobody really knew who it is. I think it's Larry's, but he's not here. Well, if he's not here, then he's not sitting out here either. And I moved his stuff off to the side. Well, Larry showed up and, and he kinda walks up to the Lord who moved my wife, who touched me, who touched my glider. Nobody touches my glider, man. You don't touch a glider in the dark Prince man. He looked pretty serious at the time.
And he gave me a stare. I said, I moved. And you were in the middle of our local competition here. And he just gave me, you are a bunch of Wang Canucks.
Speaker 3 (1h 45m 33s): Hey, I need to wrap things up here against my will because my girls are just walked back in. But I wanted to, when you reached out to me this spring, and I do not want to talk about COVID and I do not want to talk about politics. That's the word we are not allowed to anymore, but, but I did want, you had this fantastic advice that you said, Hey, you know, this was right after the event. It was during the lockdown. Can't remember, but you said, you know, what I put out on a forum recently was that doesn't matter what you believe that in his kind of thing, what we need to be thinking about here is it's just a distraction in what I've learned over the years, doing this sport.
Like you just talked about it, you know, this one flight you're taking right now is the most important flight you're going to take. You know, I mean, it's, it's, we've got to be kind of on the ball, right? It doesn't matter if we're restoring and whatever we're doing is to, you know, complacency kills. And, but you, you, you framed it in a way that I really appreciated that I've thought a lot about this year, because I think we're all a little distracted and, and it's some of it's something good to think about. I mean, I thought that maybe you could just tell me what you were thinking when you wrote that email and, and why, and
Speaker 4 (1h 46m 45s): Oh God, I got to think of it. Yeah. You know, there's, there's been a, I was involved with the accident investigation. I was involved in an accident. I was also involved with in an accident investigation involving the, a pilot that took off without clipping the passenger. And, and I've, I've been involved with other fatality accidents, a where I've worked for the coroner in the RCMP, in it, you know, putting that stuff in the back of your head, it makes an impression like it could drive you out of the sport if you spend too much time thinking about it.
But it was just so simple and so subtle that led to the death of this passenger. And it was, you know, it it's, it's people think that a little distraction can't really add up too much. And, and thankfully our gear and our stuff is so good that, you know, you, you can get away with a lot of, lots of mistakes in often. It just, it just helps reinforce maybe a lax attitude and you start getting complacent and letting stuff happen around you.
That has no ramifications. Like you, you literally get away with it every time you might've ignored some little deal. And you go out to the launch and your thinking about, as a man, I didn't make the payment on such and such, or you forgot to pay the bill, or, you know, this person's been nagging me at work and you take it up to the launch. And sometimes that's the little tiny detail that's going to bite night. You can't shut everything out, but you've got to compartmentalize it. You gotta, you gotta take it. This is not here now. Yeah. I'm on launch. I've I've literally told people to 'cause I'm a grumpy old man.
I told people to buzz off and launch. They're bugging me when I'm standing there getting ready to launch and there's conversations going on. And I've seen pilots that are, that are so tense that they can't have any of that going on, but maybe they shouldn't even be on launch in the first place. Okay. Good, good quality. Good, good skillful pilots. You can let stuff creep in and it can cause a problem as it did to me.
Speaker 3 (1h 48m 53s): Yeah. You know, one of the best lessons I learned was literally when I was getting my P2P, it was the last day Jeff Ferrell, who was until very recently Chris Santa coachees partner, forever and ever never. And I was just, I'd had such an amazing week. We were out of the point and I was learning how to ground handle. And I was doing my first flights. And then, you know, as it is for everybody in the sport, that's where we get addicted and we just can't believe what we're doing. And he took me across the other side of the Lake and to kind of like my first mountain site, because you've got to get that sign-off, you know, and I was so excited.
I was going to get the fly off a mountain and it just, I was buzzing. And it, it was with my good friend, Randy camp, the DOR, and we got up there and, you know, I, for whatever reason, it was, it was hot, hot, hot, you know, it was June and it's the middle of the day. And I hadn't had enough water and I just wasn't, I wasn't putting things together, but I didn't know it, you know, you, and he was just standing off to the side and I had, you know, I was clipped in and I was ready to go, but I just couldn't remember if I turned right or left couldn't remember, which has the brick was on the brakes, but in my hands, over the top of them at the top, you know, and they, all of these things that I had done perfectly all week and really had down and really, you know, understood.
I mean, for, for a brand new pilot, I'm not, you know what I mean? But, and he just, he kinda, he came over, tapped me on the shoulder and he said, you're done today. And I was like, what, why, what are you, what do you mean? I'm getting to do my mountain flight? And he goes, no, you're done unclip pack away your glider. And it was just, I still think about that all the time. I had no idea. I could recognize that I wasn't operating, you know, I was just, I was fumbling around, but I didn't have the experience then.
And I was just, I was, I was sapped. I was too tired. I was too much input all week. And I was, my brain had had enough. And, but I didn't recognize it. And we need to be able to recognize these.
Speaker 4 (1h 50m 58s): And I, I will say this to them. You know, there's a difference between an instructor and a really great instructor. And like, Brad, making me go to the stalls again. Yeah. Like your instructor spotting that something wasn't right. I mean, not so good instructor is just to let things go, you know, and they pluck their student out of the trees and they give them hell for a week. You know, why'd you go on the trees, we've trained so hard, but to have an instructor that goes spot that you weren't, you know, cute in it, it wasn't happening for ya.
You know, that's pretty cool too.
Speaker 3 (1h 51m 38s): We really, we need our instructors. And then we get kicked out of the nest and we need our mentors and Martin would have pleasure, man. This was, I've been, like I said, it at the top of the show, I've been dying to talk to you. And this was just a blast. I'd love to maybe do a followup show with the original plan was to do it with your wife and have you both on at the same time. So maybe a, maybe we can talk her into another one of these, but I appreciate it. Thanks for all your knowledge and stories. I know we've tapped a fraction of 1% of them and there's many, many, many more so we'll have to do a, we'll have to do a round to, as I've promised to do with Larry as well.
But thank you very much. Thanks for sharing your time and, and, and your knowledge and your stoke. Yeah. Thank you.
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